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Overview

The Aeolian Islands lie off the northern coast of Sicily. Volcanic in origin, they were named for the Greek god Aeolus who, it was believed, controlled the winds. These five tiny islands — Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, and Stromboli — offer delightful side trips from Palermo. Vulcano is the closest to the mainland, ninety minutes by ferry or hydro-foil. An hour's hike from the main town, Porto di Levante will bring you up to the volcano crater and gorgeous views over the Mediterranean. A short walk from the port is a beautiful black sand beach. Lipari's Castello dates back to Neolithic times; near is the Museo Eoliano with an impressive ...

The Aeolian Islands lie off the northern coast of Sicily. Volcanic in origin, they were named for the Greek god Aeolus who, it was believed, controlled the winds. These five tiny islands — Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, and Stromboli — offer delightful side trips from Palermo. Vulcano is the closest to the mainland, ninety minutes by ferry or hydro-foil. An hour's hike from the main town, Porto di Levante will bring you up to the volcano crater and gorgeous views over the Mediterranean. A short walk from the port is a beautiful black sand beach. Lipari's Castello dates back to Neolithic times; near is the Museo Eoliano with an impressive collection of pottery and artifacts excavated from the Castello. The best way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Salina is on foot. The main town, Santa Marina Di Salina, is not much to look at, but it does have a few cafes where you sit and people watch while enjoying a glass of white malvasia wine, a specialty of the island. There are no cars on Panarea — they can't negotiate the network of small roads — so there's nothing to break up the peace and quiet as you walk along. Stromboli is famous for its active volcano; guided hikes to the summit take six hours up and back.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Frances Folsom for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June-August; for no crowds go in the off months: May, September and October.